Magic Hacks Neural Circuits
"Magicians dazzle us by exploiting loopholes in the brain's circuitry for perceiving the world and paying attention." Two neurologists follow a street magician in this Scientific American report.
"Humans have a hardwired process of attention and awareness that is hackable. When people focus on one thing, their brains automatically suppress everything that happens around it. Magicians have devised many techniques that exploit this 'tunnel vision.' People can pay attention in various ways. Magicians exploit 'top-down,' or deliberate, attention by, say, asking a person to scan a book. They capture 'bottom-up' attention with distracting displays such as doves fluttering out of a hat."
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A NASA astronomer explains how astronauts dispose of their, uh, dark matter.
- When nature calls in micro-gravity, astronauts must answer. Space agencies have developed suction-based toilets – with a camera built in to ensure all the waste is contained before "flushing".
- Yes, there have been floaters in space. The early days of space exploration were a learning curve!
- Amazingly, you don't need gravity to digest food. Peristalsis, the process by which your throat and intestines squeeze themselves, actually moves food and water through your digestive system without gravity at all.
Carl Sagan liked to smoke weed. His essay on why is fascinating.
- Carl Sagan was a life long marijuana user and closeted advocate of legalization.
- He once wrote an anonymous essay on the effects it had on his life and why he felt it should be legalized.
- His insights will be vital as many societies begin to legalize marijuana.
A growing body of research shows promising signs that the keto diet might be able to improve mental health.
- The keto diet is known to be an effective tool for weight loss, however its effects on mental health remain largely unclear.
- Recent studies suggests that the keto diet might be an effective tool for treating depression, and clearing up so-called "brain fog," though scientists caution more research is necessary before it can be recommended as a treatment.
- Any experiments with the keto diet are best done in conjunction with a doctor, considering some people face problems when transitioning to the low-carb diet.
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